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Is cold calling a vital or redundant activity?

Cold calling: vital or dead?

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Many regard cold calling as an obselete activity, however as part of a training organisation which offers cold calling training solutions to a range of blue chips and SMEs we are seeing that it continues to be one of the best ways for generating leads.

For our clients what has changed is not a fundamental belief in the value of this approach but the way in which it is conducted- especially with regard to the crucial handling of the first 20 seconds of the call-the make or break time.

We have discovered over the years that just a few small changes to the cold calling process can often lead to swifter pipeline acceleration! What are your own organisation’s experiences of cold calling?

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By clive boorman
18th Feb 2016 08:35

Hi Anthony, great question. In a digital age, I would say, in my experience, that cold calling is anachronistic in terms of research that says that what a consumer wants now is a a trustful, genuine relationship with the orgs they do business with. It 'feels' old fashioned and so 1990's. I think digital marketing would seem to be more of the now.
BTW, I have never ever heard a cold caller make a great pitch in 20 seconds. They either say 'this isn't a sales call', 'how are you today?' or 'how would you like to save £350 a year?' - if you say 'not interested' they say - 'what you wouldn't like to save £350?' as if you are an idiot by turning their amazing offer down - all very poor.

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Replying to clive boorman:
Anthony Maddalena CEO PowerCall Global Training
By Anthony Maddalena
18th Feb 2016 11:37

Hi Clive great answer. Completely agree with you that “cold calling” in the old fashioned sense is certainly outdated and ineffective when it involves indiscriminately calling “prospects” from out of a telephone book. You are also absolutely right in that we are now very much in a world of social selling. That’s why the approach we advocate includes the inclusion of social signals and “triggers” when preparing for the call so that in essence it is no longer a “cold call”. We even work with some advanced and forward thinking information providers in UK/US to demonstrate to our clients the value of mining for triggers and hooks. We have observed a big disparity between how B2B and B2C cold calling are approached within organisations. The latter is often very poorly planned and it doesn’t surprise us that the results are highly unsatifactory. In fact with the right planning cold calling or rather social calling continues to have a place and should never be under-estimated. Regarding managing the first 20 seconds of the call we wouldn’t expect a cold caller to demonstrate clear value to the prospect in that small vital window of time. What we train them to do is to gain sufficient interest from their prospect to want to continue the conversation. Part of this has nothing to do with what is actually being said (as the prospect isn’t really listening very early on in the conversation anyway)but how we say it-the tone of voice being absolutely crucial. Then with deployment of hooks and triggers we then show them how to gain interest from their prospect so they are over the first hurdle so to speak. Interestingly I know for a fact that some of your competitors in the energy sector are adopting this better informed more social style of cold calling as I received a call only the other day from a major provider who are doing so. This was far from the old fashioned style of sales pitch that went out with the Ark. Be good to hear your thoughts. Have you discontinued all forms of telephone prospecting?

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By clive boorman
18th Feb 2016 11:57

Interesting points Anthony - don't really want to comment on what my Org does as ...well I don't know ; it's not something I am involved in so wouldn't want to speculate.

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By mark_oliverh1
22nd Feb 2016 14:04

Hi Anthony,

Interesting piece on cold-calling, and my thoughts are below, I work in sales for a healthcare training provider and i do not believe cold calling is dead,

Now that we are overloaded on the social media front although the majority of buyers are more educated about what they want from purchasing services to purchasing products but this in turn creates a lot of noise - i now see my job as a facilitator in cutting away at the noise and trying to form mutually beneficial relationships - i do this through storytelling experiences that either myself or my clients have had all very much ABC training;

I also have seen a similar topic on a well known business social network formed by Reid Hoffman - but its just their ploy to get you to upgrade to a paid membership -

I also see a lot of sales people (not my organisation) relying on these said social networks instead of picking up the phone and speaking with people;

Technology is convenient but i think buyers are still requiring a human touch to guide them on their buying way

Again these are purely my opinions (of which not representative of my company) and would be keen on any additional comments!

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Replying to mark_oliverh1:
Anthony Maddalena CEO PowerCall Global Training
By Anthony Maddalena
24th Feb 2016 10:31

Hi Mark,

Thanks for your response. You are entirely right in that ultimately people buy from people, so the human touch will never go away. I agree that it's a wasted opportunity when sales people neglect to pick up the phone. Very often social media can be a distraction, rather than an aid, when it is used as a diversion from actually reaching out to prospects through a direct conversation. However I am a strong advocate of social selling in that we need to be using the information and signals that we are gathering from social media to better inform our calls. We use Twitter a lot at PowerCall only as a means of opening the door to a telephone or face to face conversation. We never try to sell our services directly on Twitter (we regard this as a sacrilege) but we do ask our Twitter followers ( who fulfil certain criteria) questions about their experiences of selling, and where they are in relation to their growth targets. We then divide this group up into the "responders" and "non-responders". With the former group, who have taken the trouble to respond we will then follow up with free information, and if we feel there's a synergy will suggest a call or face to face meeting. So for us social media is an important step, a prelude, if you will to the business of a call / meeting. The worst thing with social media is to try to rush things. We view our roles as to listen and to guide. The beauty of cold calling when it is done properly ( which all-too often it is isn't in our experience) is that it can immediately lead immediately to a new relationship / business opportunity. I think we both agree! I hope this helps. Happy to continue the conversation if you have any further thoughts or questions.

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